Archive for November, 2010

kid pic: Thanksgiving dinner

Mary took this with Conor’s phone:


exciting teaching

I finally got my teaching assignment for next semester, which is excellent because:
a) I will get paid;
b) I will have health insurance (as will the rest of my family);
c) I love teaching;
d) I’m going to be teaching a women’s literature course, which is a first for me, and which I think will be fun!

So, now to choose my texts. Definite inclusions: Yasmena Reza’s “Art”; Elizabeth Bishop; Pat Barker’s “Regeneration”; a Jeanette Winterson story (not sure which one yet); Rebecca West’s “Return of the Soldier”; and a Jane Austen (possibly “Persuasion”?). Possibles: Timberlake Wertenbaker’s “Our Country’s Good”; Virginia Woolf’s “Between the Acts” or “Mrs Dalloway.”

Mary’s version of the history of the Pilgrims

I guess they’re learning about the Pilgrims in school. Anyway, she made a Mayflower out of a bar of soap. She told me that the Americans rode on the Mayflower, and I said, “Yeah, they did. They weren’t Americans at the time, though, were they?”

This was her explanation:

“They were English. That means England. And they landed on a rock. And then Squanto was their teacher, and he told them how to plant corn. They plant two fish with a corn. And that’s how they are Americans.”

something I don’t understand

All through the campaign for this election, I kept hearing this campaign rhetoric: “I’m not one of those Washington insiders!”

Why is this a selling point? I mean, in the first place, I don’t believe that all politicians are crooked (or even most of them). I think that most politicians are, just like other people, trying to do their jobs. Like anyone else, they have flaws, but most of the time those flaws are irrelevant to their jobs. I don’t care about their sexual partners, their fights with their wives, or any of that. It’s not my business. It’s irrelevant. Most politicians are, in my view, good people. They work hard, they get constant scorn in return, and they live in a perpetual state of uncertainty about their future, as their jobs might disappear during any election, for a variety of reasons (only some of which they can control).

On top of that: isn’t a Washington insider exactly what the savvy voter should want? A politician with no ties in Washington is an ineffective politician. It’s someone who hasn’t built ties and relationships that can lead to better chances of passing legislation; it’s someone who doesn’t know the ropes and has to spend a lot more time learning than working. A “Washington insider” is a veteran politician who has proven himself/herself. We’re not electing anyone who’s botched the job; they don’t even get nominated. So why would we want to deny someone a seat because they are good at their job? (Which is what it amounts to: a good and effective politician is always going to be considered a “Washington insider” because he/she is an integral part of the Congressional or political process.)

It’s like saying you want a new perspective and fresh voice on the law, so you’re going to hire someone who isn’t a lawyer to defend you against a false criminal charge. It makes no sense. You want the best and most educated, most experienced people. The only reason to resist that in the political arena is that you think any person who goes to Washington to work in government will end up corrupt, which is nonsense.

Mary’s song

I transcribe to the best of my ability as she’s making it up (in her bed):
“Like a collar on a turtle!
Turtle turtle turtle!
Like a collar on a turtle!
Wesley no no turtle!

What’s a-What’s a-What’s a wig?
Stink bug, stinky buggy bug!

Playing and like and play play play play
Coming out to play
Coming out to play play play with stinky bug!

Cats are cats–is a bad cat!
We all live in a yellow submarine…and we live a life of ease…
Everyone of us….is all we need—Wesley, sing it with me!”

And then he obliged.